Take Me to Your Power Grids (2002)
Neo: What does he want?
The Oracle: What do all men with power want? More power.
--The Matrix Reloaded
I have not blogged on politics in quite a while. The Democratic victory in November seemed to blow up a dust cloud of sleeping powder. Sighs of relief were breathed. Some political blogs eased up -- others, like Billmon, closed up shop. Progressives carried the day. BushCo got bitch slapped...
...with a non-binding resolution. Still, today, my state-wide newspaper's editorial page tried to convince me Dubya has turned over a new leaf. The Bush Doctrine bully boy days are over, they say. Rummy and Bolton got their marching orders, they note. The Decider seems indecisively cowed (I'd prefer glazed) during recent news conferences, they moan. Paper tigers, declawed and defanged, pussyfoot around the White House these days, they gnash.
I'm not buying any of it.
BushCo doesn't give a damn about elections or the so-called will of the people. It's always been all about them. Again and again: Take me to
your my power grids.
The signs are still everywhere. Hidden landmines in the misnamed Patriot Act (did anyone in Congress actually read this thing?) explode allowing Gonzales to lie and fire state prosecutors for "job performance" (apparently they weren't prosecuting enough Democrats) and replace them with loyalists -- including a Rovian hatchet man here in my home state of Arkansas (the better to dig up dirt on Hillary?). Benefits for Vets -- long on the receiving end of BushCo rhetoric (is that body armor on the way yet?) but lean on actual funding -- get further trimmed as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other care facilities for those who served crumble more quickly than the Coliseum. Oh, and, yes, BushCo did cook the pre-war intelligence. And, if Seymour Hersh is right (and he usually is), we're gearing up to go nuclear toe-to-toe with Iran.
But even if the Republidroids at my state newspaper were right about the gelding of BushCo, the victorious Dems would need to work every day and night until 2008 to make a chink in reversing BushCo follies and quasi-fascism. Talk about the Labors of Hercules. Where would one even begin?
How about cleaning the stable? The New York Times recently published a Must-Do List. It's a good start. Here's how they start:
The Bush administration’s assault on some of the founding principles of American democracy marches onward despite the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections. The new Democratic majorities in Congress can block the sort of noxious measures that the Republican majority rubber-stamped. But preventing new assaults on civil liberties is not nearly enough.
Five years of presidential overreaching and Congressional collaboration continue to exact a high toll in human lives, America’s global reputation and the architecture of democracy. Brutality toward prisoners, and the denial of their human rights, have been institutionalized; unlawful spying on Americans continues; and the courts are being closed to legal challenges of these practices.
It will require forceful steps by this Congress to undo the damage. A few lawmakers are offering bills intended to do just that, but they are only a start. Taking on this task is a moral imperative that will show the world the United States can be tough on terrorism without sacrificing its humanity and the rule of law.
And, laid out in detail, is a short list for unraveling the horror show of Bush/Cheney:
* Restore Habeas Corpus
* Stop Illegal Spying
* Ban Torture, Really
* Close the C.I.A. Prisons
* Account for "Ghost Prisoners"
* Ban Extraordinary Rendition
* Tighten the Definition of "Combatant"
* Screen Prisoners Fairly and Effectively
* Ban Tainted Evidence (like that obtained by abuse or coercion)
* Ban Secret Evidence
* Better Define "Classified" Evidence
* Respect the Right to Counsel
These are not suggestions. They are must-do priorities.
The editorial is worth your time -- if just to clear away layers of catapulted propaganda. The simplicity of the reversals shows how far America has tumbled from "the land of the free." What, really, does the editorial outline? That we honor the Geneva Convention? That we not set up gulags and torture other human beings? Not hold kangaroo courts in stress-position-happy countries while using selective and bogus evidence? Not illegally spy on our own citizens? Instead: Do the right thing? Play fair? Act civilized?
Would doing so really be unpatriotic and embolden our enemies? Or would it restore our good name and show our allies that we bargain in good faith and act with understanding and mutual respect.
And would it do the one thing the current administration most fears -- unplug much of BushCo's power grid?
It's past time for some rolling BushCo brown-outs...